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Baseball Question of the Day: Who was your first favorite player?

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I’ve been doing the Today in Baseball History post each morning and will continue to do that at least as long as baseball is gone. Heck, I may continue it after baseball comes back. It takes a lot of time to put together, but it’s fun and, I’m gathering, it’s hipping people to a lot of weird old baseball stuff about which they had no idea. That’s nice.

I want to start a new daily feature now. One that has the opposite aim: you all telling me stuff. What you like. What you hate. Your favorites. Your least-favorites. Who you think was better. Who you think was overrated. Basically, I want to ask a baseball question every day that we can all weigh-in on in the comments. If you’re able to, grab a beer and pretend we’re arguing about it all in a bar.

I’ll start with a prompt — and maybe my opinion — each day. If you want to answer, hey, great. If not, that’s fine. If some answers are particularly good or well thought-out I might share them in a post of its own, the way I used to do “Comment of the Day” way back in 2010 or whenever that was. My God, we’ve been coming here a long time, haven’t we?

Anyway, here’s the first one: Who was your first favorite player, and why?

I’ve answered that one a million times but, in case you somehow missed it, the answer is Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame shortstop Alan Trammell. The reason: he was the first ballplayer who I saw do something cool in person.

While I am a Braves fan today, I lived in Michigan until I was 11 and came to baseball while watching the Ralph Houk/Sparky Anderson Tigers of the 1970s-80s. I was lucky and had a great uncle with season tickets. He sold cars and boats in Detroit and I sorta feel he was crooked and got a lot of favors for it, but we’ll leave that for now. Either way, he was nice to my brother and me and so, even though my parents didn’t give a rip about sports of any kind, we went to a lot of Tigers games.

My parents tell me the first one I ever went to was on the Fourth of July, 1978, on a family trip with the great aunt and great uncle. I would’ve not quite been five yet, and I don’t remember a thing about it.

The first one I remember was June 17, 1979, when the Tigers faced off against the California Angels. I didn’t remember the date off the top of my head, but I know (a) it was a Sunday; (b) it was against the Angels; and (c) Trammell hit a home run that day, so it was pretty easy to figure out what day it was when I went to look it up a few years back. Either way, Trammell  instantly became my hero.  If Champ Summers or Aurelio Rodriguez had homered maybe it would’ve been them, but it was Trammell. That’s just how it works for a little kid.

Anyway, for whatever reason it ended up being, I idolized Trammell from then on. I kinda still do. Being a kid is like that. Being a fan is like this.

How about you?

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.